In the middle of the last century, before Vietnam, Iraq, immigration woes, global warming denial, and other spoilers damaged the brand, the United States enjoyed rock star status for leading the Allies to victory in WWII, defending the free world from Soviet aggression, and sticking the moon landing on July 20, 1969. These accomplishments instilled an enviable sense of national pride in tens of millions of Americans—and oh, the nation could use such a jolt right about now.
On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments offers the perfect launch vehicle for younger generations to vicariously experience the nation’s nervous anticipation prior to Apollo 11’s blastoff, through to the final euphoric roar at seeing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin kick up moon dust. Nearly five hundred color and black-and-white photographs from NASA’s archives and the private collection of J. L. Pickering, including a slew of rarely seen images, are included, and the accompanying captions detail a remarkable history of the mission.
We learn, for example, that Neil Armstrong’s heart rate rose from a normal 75 beats per minute up to 156 beats as the Eagle‘s landing gear touched down on the moon’s surface. Thought to be humanity’s greatest achievement, the Apollo 11 mission showcased the inexorable power of this nation’s collective willpower—when our e pluribus unum-inity is alive and well.
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